Weights and Measures
About six months ago I started working out at the local YMCA again after taking almost two years off. I didn't start lifting weights until college but when I finally got over my "oh no, I'll be the smallest guy there" fears (I was, it didn't matter), I found that I actually enjoyed it. It makes you feel good, physically and mentally, and it's a good way to get in some exercise in the winter months for those of us that can't seem to stick with running. I also like to think of it as off-season training for my devastating tennis game.
Another perk of the weight room is the rare company you meet there and the gems of conversation you overhear. These are a few of my favorite people from the past months:
- The sinewy seventy-year-old guy that comes in and does more pull-ups than most people could do at twenty.
- The guy that knows the protein content of every food on earth and will eagerly explain how to get well over 100 grams per day (it involves a lot of tuna).
- The textbook tool that came in one night, on break from his first year at college, highlights in his hair and all, and told all the high school kids about life at IU. He then proceeded to sit on the bench as if preparing to do some bench press but instead talked to a girl on his cell phone for a half-hour. At some point in the call he must have gotten bored because he started doing crunches.
- The obnoxiously overconfident high school football player with peroxide hair and a focus on "keeping tone while getting big."
- The high school girl that was fawning over said football player to the point where I had to leave the room. High school is unbearably embarrassing.
- The Air Force guy that put on an absolute clinic for his enraptured audience of, you guessed it, high schoolers. My favorite points of his lecture were the instructive tips on the exercises of Navy Seals and his elaboration on how "foreign women looove Americans." Later the conversation moved to foreign affairs and a young man chipped in with "I can never remember which Korea is the good one and which is the bad one. I think South Korea is the bad one."
- The ordinary-looking, middle-aged guy dressed in a Flanders-style sweater that rolled up his sleeves to reveal forearms full of tattoos and benched 225 on the incline press with a close grip.
- The guy of average build that tried to bench press 225 lbs but couldn't budge it from his chest and had to call for my help. I respect his ambition and all but I saw him loading up that bar and knew that he didn't stand a chance.
- And finally, me, for finally being able to do enough pull-ups to pass the Presidential Physical Fitness Test for twelve-year-olds. Seriously, weren't those some ridiculous standards? That's just setting kids up for failure.
So if you've never lifted weights before, consider starting for the culture.